High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) is the go-to form of fat-burning cardio for any gym-goer these days. For good reason, too.
HIIT has plenty of proven benefits, like being great for building endurance and you can get just as good a workout in about half the time. In fact, this is one of the main reasons HIIT has become so popular in recent years.
Not so long ago, it was thought that long hours on the treadmill or bicycle was the only way to shed the body fat. As people are becoming more aware about diet and other forms of losing fat, they’re waving goodbye to the dreaded hours of cardio.
What’s more, HIIT is so effective that you can even continue to burn calories long after you’ve actually performed the exercise, even though it’s minimal amounts. With all that said, though, as a former competitive swimmer myself, why does everyone think that HIIT, or cardio for that matter, needs to be performed on land? Nowhere have I seen written in the rule book that HIIT should be perform on the bike or treadmill. Well, here’s why you should consider the benefits of performing your next HIIT session in the pool.
Shock to the Body
First and foremost, unless you’re a keen swimmer, taking a splash in the pool is going to be a shock to the system. This is great, though, as it is proven that switching up your workout routine is one of the best ways to stop yourself from reaching plateaus.
On top of this, for swimming to feel easy, it requires a very efficient stroke and technique. This means that you’re likely going to be panting for oxygen much quicker than you would on land, so it should be easier for you to raise your heart rate.
Easy on the Mind
One of the best things about swimming is its therapeutic qualities. Of course, if you’re planning a HIIT session, it’s going to be tough. However, the repetitive nature of the sport has been said to have meditative-like effects on the mind. This is partly due to the fact you’re constantly focussing on the timing of your breathing and stroke rate.
Once you’ve finished your workout in the pool, you should feel mentally recharged and like you have more energy than when you started.
Easier to Hit Your Vo2 Max
Like I mentioned earlier, the fact that your body isn’t used to this form of exercise means that you’ll find it easier to spike your heart rate, and in turn, hit your Vo2 max, which is what is required for you to perform HIIT effectively.
Nobody Sees You Sweat
As much as I believe you should be proud to sweat, this is still a secret benefit to performing a pool workout. I’ve performed many a sweaty cardio session in the gym and been absolutely drenched afterwards.
What’s great about being in the pool is that you feel refreshed almost as soon as you’ve performed your exercise because you’re in water. Although this doesn’t give you a physiological advantage, it sure does make it easier on the mind.
Although it’s hard to give a template session that will suit your specific ability level in the pool, the principles of HIIT apply to everyone. In order to perform HIIT effectively, you should be hitting your Vo2 max for up to 20 minutes.
One way you can do this in the pool is to perform a series of single length (or double if you’re up for the challenge) sprints. You should aim to take around 15 seconds rest in between each sprint.
At first, you might simply want to aim for 10 single length sprints and build it up from there. The key is to keep progressing, whether that’s in distance or amount of repetitions.
So, hopefully this will inspire you to mix up for HIIT training and take a jump in the pool.